Various types of rope are used in decorative and landscape applications, but the most popular and widely used is twisted Manila Rope. This natural fiber rope is used to enhance walkways, create borders and form railings on docks, patios and decks. It can be wrapped around or through poles to create a rustic or nautical look. Many diameters of manila rope are used in these applications, but the most common are 1”, 1-1/4”, 1-1/2”, and 2”.
Manila Rope is biodegradable and therefore environmentally friendly. Since it is a natural fiber, it will fade and weather with time, changing from a light brown / tan color to a light shade of gray.
When deciding how much rope is needed for a project, there are important factors to keep in mind. If it is to be used in an outdoor application, one must factor in the shrinkage that will occur when the rope becomes wet. Manila rope can shrink up to 20% when it is wet, so it must be draped from support to support point. It will return to its original length when the rope dries out. We can help determine how much Manila Rope will be needed depending upon how it will be installed.
When placing Manila Rope through holes, we suggest drilling holes that are approximately one-half inch in diameter larger than the diameter of the rope being used. This not only helps with the ease of installation, but will allow for any swelling that can occur when the rope is wet or ages. Another consideration is the method to be used to finish the cut ends of the Manila Rope, to prevent unraveling and give it a clean, finished appearance. The most common way to do this is to “serve” or “whip” the ends with sisal twine that we can provide with the order. We can offer instructions for this on site, or we can apply this at our facility if the pre-finished lengths being used have been determined.
Common Whipping Instruction
This illustration shows a simple method of whipping a rope. It is made by laying a loop along the rope and then taking a series of turns over the loop. The working end is finally brought up through this loop and hauled out of sight by pulling the other end. Both ends are then trimmed. The length of the whipping should be approximately equal to the diameter of the rope or, if applicable, long enough to cover the splice.
Other Decorative Ropes
Other types of rope used in these types of applications include Twisted Nylon, Cotton, and Polypropylene Rope. Nylon Rope comes standard in white, but can also be custom manufactured or dyed to various colors depending on the quantity needed. One of the more popular colors for decorative nylon is gold. Cotton Rope is another natural fiber biodegradable rope. It is off-white in color and is generally only used in indoor applications as it degrades rather rapidly outdoors when compared to Manila Rope. Polypropylene is popular around water, as it is not affected by moisture.